Former NATO commander (SACEUR), General Philip Breedlove, recently visited Kyiv for the second time in just over a month. His first visit in September was as part of a US-Ukraine Foundation group that presented the Foundation’s “Friends of Ukraine Network” initiative policy recommendations at the Diplomatic Academy during the annual, high-profile YES conference.
This visit was perhaps more low key but certainly no less notable or substantial. Gen. Breedlove spent three days in the Ukrainian capital with colleagues from Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs who are working in partnership with the Kyiv School of Economics to develop a more nuanced predictive algorithm that will provide policy makers with more accurate, empirically grounded policy options.
While the rest of the team focused largely on organizing and managing the workshops relating to what is still a work in progress, the Foundation arranged several meetings for the former SACEUR. Among the current and former officials Gen. Breedlove met with were: ex-deputy prime minister for European integration and current Rada Chair of the Committee on Ukraine’s EU Integration, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze; former long-term secretary of Ukraine’s national security council under President Kuchma and presidential adviser, Voldymyr Horbulin; and Aivaras Abromavicius, director General of Ukraine’s arms conglomerate, Ukroboronprom.
Gen. Breedlove also visited with former President Leonid Kuchma. Ukraine’s longest-serving president had been directly involved in the steps leading to Ukraine’s assent to proceed according to the so-called Steinmeier plan for resolving the war in Donbas and was scheduled to travel again to Minsk the following day.
Not surprisingly, the situation in eastern Ukraine and the controversy generated by the Steinmeier initiative – a road map that many Ukrainian critics believe has more Achilles heels than a centipede – dominated every meeting. The General expressing particular interest – and concern – over the prospective situation and possible dynamics at the border between Russia and Ukraine. Other issues discussed at the meetings were the structure of national security decision-making within the new Administration and reform of the blighted Ukrainian military-industrial complex.
Following their intensive Kyiv program, Gen. Breedlove and his colleagues departed for the Hague where they were scheduled to continue working with Dutch colleagues on the development of their analytical project. In summarizing his latest visit to Kyiv, General Breedlove said that:
“We’ve had an excellent, productive visit and I’m proud of the work our team and the incredible staff at KSE are doing. In addition, the meetings I had through the Foundation’s Friends of Ukraine Network convinced me that the West’s support for Ukraine – and that of the US in particular – is needed more than ever and I’m committed to remaining on Ukraine’s team.”
Photo at top of page: Archival photo of General Breedlove speaking at a USUF Friends of Ukraine Newtork event at the National Press Club in Washington.